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What happen if we invest in developing our people and they leave?

Author :Marek Molick

CFO :"

What happen if we invest in developing our people and they leave?"

CEO :"

What happens if we don't,and they stay?"

quote by Peter Baeklund

My first reaction was a smile. My second reaction was the certainty that I would never like to work with that kind of CFO, and I would always love to work with kind of CEO. If you have the possibility to ask only the one question during the interview, ask this. Ask what CEO of the company thinks about investing in people and threat that they will leave. When you get the answer you know if you’re going to work with visionary or someone who is name is „I’m cutting the costs only.” And you don’t want to work with the second one trust me.

Sure, CFO role is to keep the finance under control. It’s not okay when CFO is giving away money without hesitation. But there’s also not good when your CFO is cutting spendings on people development. And the worst thing can happen when CEO thinks the same as CFO.

There a five reasons (in fact there are many more) why it’s bad, let’s look at them:

  1. Employer Branding – You’re trying to build the positive image of your company, but employees have no chance to develop? It doesn’t matter if it means you don’t spend money on external training for them, don’t organize internal training or just not giving them demanding and/or challenging tasks. If you do so, then you can forget about spending money on Employer Branding too. You were just wasting them. „Development” is a keyword that is almost always used by employers, so if you say so in you EB materials, but, in reality, there’s no chance for this – forget. People are talking. People exchanging information regarding employers. Today it’s not possible to hide anything, and good companies shouldn’t have anything to hide. Otherwise, it is difficult to consider them as a good. If you are not letting people develop but you promise it- people will find out, and you can forget about your Employer Branding efforts. Whatever you’ll say it will be treated as a lie. It’s enough you lied once.

  2. Forget About Stars. The company that is ambitious needs star employees. I mean experienced people, who can give a lot of additional value to the enterprise – teach younger employees, use contacts to increase sale, help build the positive image, etc. Believe me, if you won’t give them a chance to develop they will not be interested. Every star employee knows that the day when (s)he stops to form it’s the first day of her/his end as a star. If you’re not developing you’re stuck in where you are, if you stuck you’re a going back. Everyone who spent plenty of time on learning, getting the skills, building her/his brand will never accept this kind of situation. So forget the start and welcome mediocre employees. They will fit perfectly with your mediocre company.

  3. Your Company Is Not Developing Too. If your people are not developing your company is not developing too. I’m not sure as it’s in other industries, but in online business is suicide. It’s not just a marketing bullshitting that you need to develop and give your company more and more challenging tasks. It’s simply your future or lack of future. (You can play that song, it’s for you: Just answer only the one question – where you will have the knowledge to develop your company? OK, maybe also second one – who will implement your new ideas if people are not familiar with new things?

  4. People Will Stay At Your Company More Likely. People are happy if you take care of them and their future. If you invest in them, you build loyalty and trust.

  5. It’s Good For Everybody In Company. Believe me or not, but people prefer to work in firms that are considered as a modern, developed with other employees they can learn from. It’s good for their development and their CVs. It’s added value that speaks for itself. When you encourage people to develop it may also affect the ones that didn’t think it necessary Or you can just simply justify who wants to develop and who doesn’t and react.

Sure, people are leaving companies and join another. You might have the same fears as CFO from a picture. We will invest in them, and they will leave. But they may leave anyway, and what it’s worst they can stay with their lack of knowledge. From the other side, if they will leave your company after you trained them after you gave them the chance to develop and after you treat them as partners, most of them become your greatest ambassadors. They will be the best part of your Employer Branding strategy. They will speak as ex-employees and their voice will be considered as most honest and valuable. It’s simply profitable for you in the long term.

Last but not least, it’s not bad if bigger companies from your industry hire your staff. If you are so good to train people to the level of the best enterprises in the industry, it’s only good PR for you.


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